In 1546 the council made provision for supplying “forty buckets of leather for carrying of water to fight fires and twelve graps of iron for pulling houses that chance to be afire”. 1670 saw the Lord Lieutenant charging the Lord Mayor to provide engines, etc., to quench fire in times of great danger, 35 years later the city was still looking for such engines and consequently sent to London for one and ordered that another one be built here and a house to be built to house them. These seem to be the first municipal fire engines but now came the question of an organized fire fighting force.
On the 4th July 1711 one John Oates a water engine maker petitioned the Dublin Assembly that he be allowed to six pounds per annum to keep in good order the cities water engine and men at his own expense to fight any outbreak of fire. The second half of the 18th century many improvements in the engines notably the addition of an air vessel enabling a jet of water to be operated continuously instead of in spurts.
In the early 19th century besides the fire engine owned by the corporation, the police and most of the parishes had their own engines. At this time with the expansion and increase of wealth in the city it was the insurance brigades which had become the main fire fighting force. Dressed in brightly coloured costumes with the badges of their company on their uniforms and supplied with engines by the companies these men attended fires only in building which displayed the mark of their own insurance company. Later on cooperation did develop between the companies. The crew of the engine which arrived first received the highest amount of pay.
Up until this time it was property which was the first responsibility of the brigade but after several terrible fires in Patrick Street near Christchurch cathedral in which lives were lost the Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire was set up with five fire escapes being bought and kept at churches with men set to keep watch with them.
The First Dublin Fire BrigadeThe Dublin Corporation Fire Brigade Act was enacted in 1862 and this allowed for the establishment of an organized fire fighting force.It contained 13 clauses and incorporated the Waterworks Act of 1861.
The position of superintendent or Chief Fire Officer as it became known, was won by Mr. J.R. Ingram after a written and oral examination. Mr. Ingram who was a Dublin man had been a volunteer fireman in New York for eight years and also in London for some time.
The brigade consisted of 24 men with a fire station in Whitehorse yard off Winetavern street.
Over the years the brigade expanded, improved and fought several major fires such as the great Whiskey Blaze in 1875.
Pumps at this time were purely manual such as the 1883 Merryweather which relied solely on the efforts of teams of fire fighters who worked handles on either side to provide a continuous spray. Steam power came in for a while with horses being used to pull the heavy machines. It was to be 1925 before the last of the horses left their service in the DFB.
Notable events since 18821884 Fireman John Kite killed on duty when a house collapsed.
1898 Establishment of Dublin Fire Brigade Ambulance service. 537 calls in the first year.
1899 First telescopic aerial ladder.
1903 Dorset street fire station opens.
1907 New headquarters in Tara street. Costing £21,840 and built on 1/2 acre.
1909 First motorized appliance arrives. Capable of 30mph with inbuilt pump and lockers.
1916 Easter rising with fires and shelling all over the city. Snipers cause firemen havoc.
1921 Custom house destroyed by republican forces.
1936 Three firemen killed in a fire and explosion on Pearse street.
1941 German bombs land on parts of Dublin killing 38 and destroying over 70 houses.
1956 All ambulances and engines have radios fitted (started in 1951).
1968 New control room opened in Tara street.
1974 3 terrorist bombs explode in Dublin killing 28 and injuring over 100.
1981 48 young people die in the Stardust disco fire.
1982 Purchase of the O Brien Institute for a training centre.
1994 Firefighter Tim. Horgan killed in ambulance crash while responding to a call.
1995 Over 4000 fire calls in 8 weeks as gorse and forest fires hit Dublin.
1996 Ship fire fighting training introduced.
1998 New headquarters built in Townsend street. Tara street closes after 91 years. New Station Opens
2001 Dublin control room starts taking fire calls for Longford County. This brings it to a total of 4 counties and Dublin. Ambulance service achieves I.S.O. accreditation.
2002 Entire fleet of ambulances now replaced by new Lunar body.
2003 Swiftwater rescue technician training introduced
2004 10 of the 11 ambulance are now replaced by the new Ford Voyager
Dennis Sabres have replaced about two thirds of the fleet with more on the way. Rope Rescue Course Introduced
2005 Training started In Switzerland for tunnel firefighting
2007 Swords Fire Station opens fulltime with one fire appliance and ambulance. Malahide retained station closes.
2008 11 of the 12 ambulance are now the new Ford CEN box body.
2009 New Mercerdes ambulances introduced and all ambulances CEN.
2010 New Scania fire appliances goes operational in HQ with new turntable ladder due to Dennis no longer making fire appliances.
Dublin Fire Brigade MuseumThe DFB museum is situated in our training centre on the Malahide Road Dublin 3.
The museum comprises 2 floors which house a treasure trove of historical items from the brigades history.
To visit the museum you need to contact the training centre at (00353 1) 8338313 or fire @ dublincity.ie.